Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Name/Design and a Health Update

I resolved to rename the blog. I have done it. The placeholder name of a year and a half is gone. As I said, having 'blog' in the name of your blog is just embarrassingly lazy. The new name is lazy as well, but less embarrassingly so. I lack naming brilliance. Turns of phrase don't roll off of my tongue with ease. I'm probably not talking, but if I am it's either a mere 'yes', 'no,' or 'okay' or it's rather long winded.

You'll never guess where "Too Much Mine" came from*.

It is a line from the Okkervil River song "Hanging From A Hit"**. That was a line that stood out to me from my first listen to their newest album. I like it on several levels. I feel going into detail about personal meaning would be boring, so I won't. Here's how it fits into the song***:

"And she says,
'I smile polite
And I tip and tithe
And I see the sights with a well-trained eyed
But I calmly cry
I'm too much mine
Without him'"

Let me know what you think about the new design. It's not really a new design just a new banner, background and color scheme. The lay out is exactly the same as it was before. I didn't change the URL either, so I hope this doesn't mess up these things showing up in your readers.


So, a few weeks ago I wrote a post about some health concerns I was having. I deleted it in the meantime for legitimate reasons****. I saved it, because I thought I might repost it, but I don't think it's really necessary. Here comes a summary.

I was having a problem breathing that wouldn't go away. Dr. C couldn't really explain it, but she thought she felt a nodule on my thyroid. So, I spent time worrying about what all that could be. A week later I see her and she can't feel it anymore and thinks just some neck cartilage was out of place. I didn't think it was anxiety, because I didn't feel any more anxious than normal, but she wanted to see if Xanax would help and it did.

I really didn't think that I was dealing with a lot of stress, but I suppose a person can become used to it. So, the breathing problems have almost entirely gone away*****. I think it's a combination of my being aware that is anxiety and the Xanax.

The acknowledgement of the anxiety did bring upon a new set of (scary) symptoms. I've written several times about how I thought I had learned how to keep my head above water in terms of my mood since my episode with Depression in 2008. Well, I may be better at it, but I have found that it isn't as easy to stay a float as I thought. I started to recognize the feelings. Late at night as I try to fall asleep is the worst, like it was back then.

I had an appointment with Dr. C today. It was to develop a longer term plan to deal with my anxiety. I also told her about how I felt the onset of depression. Fortunately the long term treatment plans for anxiety and depression are basically the same. I'm starting on Prozac, which should help prevent the onset of anxiety and elevate my mood. I still have Xanax for when I still feel overwhelmed and to help me calm my mind before bed if I need it.

Anyway, so that's what has gone down with that. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later.

Thanks for reading

*You absolutely will, if you've known me for any length of time.
***I didn't want the quote to go on for too long, but what leads into that verse is her lover asking "what her husband is like?' It's a beautiful song, but dark.
****Here's hoping they won't look this far down. It was because I had applied for health insurance.
*****Except for yesterday. Yesterday was a bad day

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dream a Dream of... wha?

Last night I had what I'm sure will become my most memorable dream to date. Up to this point the dream I most remember is one I had many years ago in which I was being pursued by the cops for a murder I didn't commit. Last night's was not so dark, but was probably more absurd seeing as it featured an approaching arranged wedding.

So, for a bit of context I must tell you a little story.

The first girl I had a 'real'* crush on was Lisa G(she is no longer Lisa G. She is now Lisa some other letter, because she went and got married in real life). I would give her the title of my second** biggest crush ever. I met her in 7th grade and the last time I really talked to her was the first day of Freshman year and basically throughout that time she was the girl that I liked.

The dream is I think actually two dreams. I'm not certain, but I think I woke up for just a little bit in the wee hours of the morning. However, it is a semi-contiguous storyline. Dreams are always kind of hazy, so forgive any vagueness or stuff that doesn't quite follow.

The first part of the dream I find out that it has been arranged that I will marry Lisa G. It's weird, because I've not seen Lisa G. in more than four years. It also wasn't like an arranged marriage you'd think of in old India. It was more like everything about my wedding had been planned and I just hadn't been informed until a few days before that anything was happening. I was just the last piece of the puzzle.

So, I'm think it rather odd and everything, but I'm not fighting. I remember getting a suit, which is the last thing I really remember before I think I woke up and looked at the clock and it was some early hour.

Things are about to get really disjointed, which is another reason I think there were two parts

The next bit I remember I wake up(in the dream***) and the clock says that it's 10:00, but it's dark and I'm on the floor of what most closely resembles the office I work at. I don't know exactly how it happens, but I'm up and in my suit and everyone is there. I come to realize that this is the Rehearsal Dinner or rather that we're about to go out to the dinner.

So, I'm really puzzled. I just woke up at what I assume to be 10pm and the last time I remember being awake in the dream is the very early morning, so I had apparently slept for like 20 hours. I'm also getting more annoyed that I'm just kind of being plugged into this wedding. So, I start asking around about how exactly this came to be, but no one is answering.

Then, Lisa comes in and she's wearing her wedding dress. We have to pose for pictures and stuff. Rehearsal dinner's are more of the business casual affair (if that) in real life, but it seemed normal that everyone was dressed as if this was the actual wedding. We pose for pictures and I'm trying to talk to her out of the side of my mouth to see what she knows. She doesn't really say anything.

Towards the end of the pictures, I somehow get gum**** into her hair. She has to leave to fix it and people seemed annoyed with me (rightfully so). In the meantime, I find out who was behind this entire arranged wedding thing. I have no idea who told me; I'm not sure if it's some I know and have just forgotten, but I think it's more likely that it was just a person my mind made up.

So I find out that it is... My Mom and Emma behind this.

I go and question my Mom and she doesn't have anything to say and we're about to leave. So, I'm walking out into a cold night with my Sister. I say something about how I can't go with them and how I have to go with Lisa and how I don't have my car. She just says something like, "it'll work out," and leaves.

Now comes a part that I know fits with the rest of the dream, but I can't quite place it. Outside, there are a lot of domestic dogs and something that is obviously in tiger-suit. It wasn't an oddity in the dream. I knew they had been planted there for some reason, because I remember something about wild animals earlier in the dream. My theory is that it was somehow supposed to make me look heroic, but they were pretty sad excuses for wild animals. I remember that a Greyhound came up and jumped on me, but that was about it.

I'm out in the cold and I'm waiting for Lisa to come out. The first person to come out isn't Lisa though. It's Emma. She's wearing this long purple dress. This part of the dream isn't that hazy, but it's context is lost. I hadn't told Emma or anyone that I was about to get married, because I wasn't exactly how to drop that bomb or even explain how I came by it. Also, I knew she already had some conflict on the day of the wedding, which I think was her own wedding. The reason I think the conflict was her own wedding will be made more obvious in a bit.

Of course at this point in the dream, I know that she had known about it all along. However, my concern wasn't about that. I was concerned about her boyfriend. This is the only dialogue in the dream of which I have any semblance of recollection:

Me: Is your boyfriend real?

Emma: No

Me: How not real is he?

The reason I asked this was not to be vindictive. I was curious as to whether or not he had been real and she had kept her being dumped a secret or something.

Emma: He's not real.

At this point we are sitting in a car. It is a blue Vauxhall***** hatchback.

And that's it. I wake up for real and it's a quarter till 8 and I'm like, "what the fuck?" I want to go back to sleep, but I don't want to forget it so I send a tweet from my phone and try to go back to sleep that I hope would jog my memory later. That doesn't work, so I wake up turn on my computer and find the Australian Open Men's Final was still going on and 2-2 in the fifth set, so I watch that. I tweet some more about the dream and Emma (the real one) asks me nicely to blog about it.

I'm not one who's big on dream interpretation. My elementary understanding of the Brain makes me think that sleep is used to by the mind to make some connections that you may have missed during the day*******. I think dreams help in that process, but I also think they also exist, because the brain is bored while you're asleep. So, I think, if there are meanings in dreams, they are much more literal than any dream dictionary or Freud fan would have you believe.

So, when I look at this dream I don't know what I see exactly. I only really have guesses at particular meanings (because I think there are several in this dream) that I want to share:

1. The Arranged Marriage- I think this is about my own resentment of how involved my parents still are in my life.

2. The fake wild animals- I think they're representations of phony attempts my others to build up my self-esteem.

That's about it. I don't know exactly what to make of it and don't know if I should really even try. You're certainly welcome to play psychologist if you would like.

Thanks for reading

*I mean that she is the first girl I actually liked, because I was attracted to her. I didn't just have a crush on her because I'm a boy and am supposed to like girls.
**My biggest crush was a girl I liked during my senior year of high school and deluded myself for more than a year after graduation that it might happen, when she kindly enough made it clear that it wasn't going to happen.
***I wake up and look immediately at the clock in my dreams often. I'm always late and then I wake up for real and see that I'm not really late and it's nice.
****I haven't regularly chewed gum since Freshman year.
*****Vauxhalls aren't even sold in the U.S. Too much Top Gear and Forza.
******Sarah, why don't you have a go at this one?

Friday, January 27, 2012


We had our 'holiday' dinner out for all of us who work at the Doctor's office a week ago, Wednesday. You may wonder why exactly it took until the middle of January for such an event to occur. It was that the end of the year at the office was pretty damn crazy. Dr. C(mostly) and staff were super busy working to get our office up to the standards of a Government incentive program. There was also a lot of end of the year house keeping that had piled up as the office had started making the switch to an updated and soon to be mandated type of system that needed to be done by January 1st. So, holiday celebrations were put on hold.

I am one of only two boys who work at the office and Dr. O didn't go out with us, so it ended up being me out with eight women. It was the subject of a lot of joking, but I didn't mind, because good company is good company regardless of gender.

The dinner went as it usually does when I'm in a relatively large group*. I say very little, if anything at all. I am very happy to let others dominate conversation. It really was a great time. I haven't laughed so much in quite a while. I would get the occasional, 'poor Michael' when things turned particularly girly.

I already knew that I liked the people I work with, but that night proved to me that I am comfortable with them. I can't eat around just anybody. I'm not insecure about people seeing me eating or anything. I'm just very anxious when I'm out and around people, so I get very nauseated. I have to be very comfortable with the people I'm with to be able to eat much at all and I ate everything before me that night**.

I even have a hard time eating when I go out with my best friends. I've never told them exactly why I don't eat much, but it helps that I'm ridiculously skinny, so they can presume that it's just how I normally eat****. I really would rather they didn't know, because I don't want them to think it's their fault; it's my crazy ass. Here is how going out to dinner with my friends goes for me:

I'm nervous and want to throw up when we enter the restaurant. We get seated and order drinks (not alcohol***** in this scenario). I'm able to talk and do my best to pretend that I don't feel like shit. Food gets ordered and as we wait I start to calm down. I begin to think that I might actually be able to eat enough food for it not to be embarrassing this time. As soon as the food is brought to our table and I can smell the food, the nausea returns much worse than before. It's been so bad that I've excused myself to the bathroom certain that I was going to puke, but alas no puke ever comes. I can rarely stomach more than a few bites. I've paid for an awful lot of uneaten meals.

It is nice to go out to dinner and not feel like that, so that may have been the best part of going out to dinner that night. It was a big +7******* for people I can go out with and feel mostly normal. It doesn't exactly help with the rest of it, but it was something nice. Could you imagine, if I had the courage to, you know, ask a girl out to dinner?

Well, just know that, if I ever have the pleasure to share a meal with any of you who aren't Sarah, I won't be eating much.

I've put the song "Ontario" by No Use For A Name on repeat and I can't make myself stop. I really love that song and can't quite quantify it. I really relate it to "Looking for Alaska" in my mind. It's a pretty song and it's short and if I don't stop it soon it could over take my #1 most played on i Tunes.

Thanks for reading and please comment

*Actually, this is how i act in smaller groups as well only it is a lot more awkward.
**This was before I had the Xanax***.
***That bit was entirely for my Sister's and Emma's benefit. I'll be telling you all more about that next week.
****It's not
*****If alcohol is involved, the rest of the paragraph doesn't happen.
******One of the eight people was my Aunt Jane and she was already on the list.

P.S. I put the renaming of the blog thing on the back-burner during my paranoia about being seriously ill, but I'm back to spending time on it. I have a list. I'm not going to share it, but I assure you of it's existence.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Markless Books

This one is going to be short. It also is going to turn a bit morbid, so heads up. It is also very disjointed and bad.

Am I an oddity that I don't make marks in my books?

I've been told by countless English teachers and professors that you really should make notes in the margins or highlight things to help with comprehension and shit. It also just seems like a good idea for reference. I just don't do it. Not even in text books. I just never feel the want or the need to do it.

It kind of seems like something I ought to do. I find quotes that I like and it would be easier to find them again if they were highlighted. Part of it would be that I would likely just end up highlighting an entire book, because I find everything fascinating even if it shouldn't be found fascinating*.

I think it also has to do with the way I perceive my relationship with a book. It is entirely adequate for me to keep it in my head. I think trying creating a physical manifestation of what's going on in my head would hurt my enjoyment of and relationship with a book. There is no ambiguity once I've written down a point or highlighted a passage.

My copy of the Odyssey is one I got for a Mythology class at Half Price Books. It is highlighted to hell and there are lots of notes in the margin from the previous reader. This didn't bother me while reading it. It was actually rather funny. There were notes about alliteration, which is funny considering it was written in Greek and therefore alliteration in the English translation means nothing.

I think another reason for me not marking in my books is that I don't another person to mock my own notations as I did in that case. I am vain and all. I also know that no one can ever be inside my head and therefore couldn't understand the true meaning of anything thing I would write or highlight.

Those of you who saw the hastily deleted post from about two weeks ago will understand why I have spent more time pondering my own imminent death in the meantime. I know it was ridiculous, but I couldn't help it. I don't have reason to be worried about that anymore and I'll write more about what's going on once it is a bit more sorted.

I started trying to work out a plan for how to handle my digital existence with the end of my physical one. It really was one of my main concerns. You guys really matter to me and I'd like to think that I matter you as well to some degree. I hated the thought my ceasing to exist would create a mystery. I think you would deserve to know.

I could never come up with a plan though. It's kind of a terrible burden to place on anyone. I also don't particularly want anyone poking** around on my Computer, if I was gone. This is horribly narcissistic, isn't it?

I'm sort of over spending an excessive amount of my brain power to dying. The things that I was worrying about proved to be non issues.

Sorry about the downer post

*Except Biology. I don't find myself particularly fascinated by Biology.
**and that's not entirely about the porn

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Frothy Mix

I can't help but be drawn in by the Republican Primary stuff. I really like electoral politics. I'd really like to ignore them and their shenanigans, but damn it they are having elections and I fucking love elections. I'm not into it enough to watch debates or anything, but I devote a little (a lot) bit of brain power in trying to determine what will happen.

Aside from the fact they are having competitive caucuses and primaries, it is also thoroughly entertaining to see the Republicans like this. This almost never happens with them. They're nomination process is usually very orderly. The Republicans almost always give their nomination to the person who finished second in the last round of competitive primaries (John McCain) or the Vice President (George H. W. Bush). Even in the cases where it doesn't exactly go to that form, it's still pretty orderly as a front runner is picked and the establishment gets in line (George W. Bush).

If the Republicans were following their typical pattern, Mitt Romney would definitely be the nominee. I have maintained that I didn't think he would win the nomination though. He looks every bit of the WASP that you would expect of the GOP, but he isn't a WASP; he's a Mormon and in Republican politics he might as well be a Martian. Also, the other Candidates hate him, so as they drop out they attack him with their last breaths and the throw their support behind his strongest opponent.

Mitt Romney is actually looking like he will be the nominee though and it certainly wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about this sort of thing. He won Iowa. He's going to win New Hampshire, probably by a large margin. Winning those two basically is winning the nomination in normal years. Their delegate totals are actually very small and those two states don't really do a good job at representing the nation, but that doesn't really matter. Win those two and you get momentum and the media pegs you the front runner and you're set to start writing you're acceptance speech.

The thing that makes me really hesitant to guarantee Romney's nomination is that after New Hampshire the Primary calender is very unfriendly to him. Also, the environment will become unfriendly. The division in the anti-Romney vote will go away as people drop out. Also, it has become clear the Republican electorate seems to come to hate the front runner this cycle.

It does look like the anti-Romney candidate will be Rick Santorum*. His timing seems to be just about right. The other anti-Romney people had their time on top of the polls and ended up getting beat up by the other candidates and rejected by the electorate. It seems the only other candidate who could add to the intrigue is Ron Paul. He is going to have to win Primaries though. A close second or third would be good enough in the Democratic Party, but not with the G.O.P.

If the Republicans had the rules of the Democrats, this would be even more fun to watch. The way the Democrats go about allocating delegates is ridiculously convoluted**, which the nation became familiar with in 2008. The Republicans don't do that. There are no Super-delegates and there is no dividing of delegates based on vote totals or congressional districts. It's very simple*** for the Republicans. If you win a state's primary or caucus you get all the delegates from that state.

The dream scenario would be that Romney, Paul and Santorum show up at the convention and they would all be short of a majority. I honestly don't see an alliance that could be formed there. It would be terribly messy and I'd love to see a messy* convention.

My hope is that Santorum wins the nomination, because Obama would win reelection with ease in that case. I actually think Obama will win against any of them. I have a theory that the 2012 General Election is going to sort of mirror the 2004 General Election****, but I'll wait to expand on that in a future post.

Thanks for reading and please comment

*Have you googled Santorum today?
**It's actually very democratic, in the actual sense of the word.
***It's actually very republican, in the actual sense of the word.
****In that the incumbent wins, not that the Republican wins.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I have dreaded the thought of 2012 for a while now. It's not the end of the world thing. It's not that I think it will be particularly horrible year either. In fact, I think it may be a great one. The damned thing is that it contains my five year high school reunion. It's not that I hated the people I went to school with, because if that was the case I wouldn't go. It is just a sobering reminder of what I haven't accomplished in five years. All I seem to have is college credits that don't really amount to anything and a blog for that time. I know that I have a lot more from that time, but it's not really tangible.

That sounds so much more self-pitying than it actually is.

I was thinking about the ritual of the New Year last night and decided that I absolutely love it. The ball dropping and partying is nice, but it's more than that. It's a time where I think a lot of people reflect and decide to make improvements. I think it is wonderful that people take time to look book as well as look forward at the same time. It's remembering the good and bad of the old and wishing for a better new.

There are always a lot of cynics about things. I get that New Year's Eve to New Year's day is really just one insignificant day to another. It's not even a significant moment in Earth's orbit around the sun*. However, meaning exists only were it is given, so I felt differently at 11:59 last night than I did at midnight. I know it doesn't need to be a significant moment, but I let it. It is a dividing line between past and future and just like that.

So along with that comes the New Year's Resolution(s). I don't have very many this year and frankly they aren't all that exciting. In fact one is a repeat. Still, here they are:

Rename The Blog

My initial goal was not to have this place called "Pastafraina07's Blog." I had wanted to create a blog in the summer of 2010 and couldn't think of anything more clever, so in went that place-holder name. Now it's a year and a half later and it still has that name****. Also, having Blog in the name of your blog is like having Car in the name of your car*****. This one shouldn't be hard, you all could remind me if it doesn't get done.

Stop Saying God

I tried to do this last year, but I horribly failed. Saying god before I curse is just so deeply intrenched in me. My goal is to either just not say it or replace it with "Pallas". This will probably be a losing battle, but I'd really like to stop acknowledging something I don't believe in. I shouldn't yell curse-ridden commands at my video game to something I doubt exists.

Imagine People Complexly

I just need to do this. It's kind of hard, because it's really hard to not think of others as 2-D; to not vilify or deify them in your own mind. This is one that I'm definitely going to fail at a lot, but I think it's best to try to make myself better at imagining others complexly.

Thanks for reading

*It also takes roughly** 6 more hours to orbit the sun than 365 days, so relative to the sun the earth is in a slightly different position at midnight on New Year's Eve each year.
**It is actually slightly less that 6 hours***, so once in a very great while a leap year is skipped to compensate for that difference. I believe the next one will be long after we're all dead, but it's cool to think smart people have figured this shit out.
***A blog post and an Astronomy 101 lesson.
****My one moment of naming brilliance went to my sparsely used sports blog and no one is going to convince me that "Pasta Salad Tackle Football" is not an awesome name.
*****I don't actually name inanimate things, but named cars have been prominent in the books I've been reading.